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If you use Facebook, you should know that your posts and “likes” are about to become fodder for advertisers. What you say about a company can be used to put an ad for that company in the right-side bar on your friends’ pages. Naturally, there’s a lot of controversy about this, as well as privacy concerns. One of the main arguments is that your posts about a particular product shouldn’t be allowed to be used by the product’s maker as free advertising. Commenting on a product or a company doesn’t necessarily mean that you endorse it, and how you feel about a product could be misunderstood and misconstrued by your Facebook friends.
Facebook says that the only people who will be allowed to see your sponsored stories will be your friends. No one else will receive them in their sidebars, so they won’t be showing your private information to the masses. However, there are still concerns. A similar type of service was pulled from Facebook in 2009 when it was found to have sent individuals’ private shopping habits and purchases to a lot of people who didn’t need to see them and shouldn’t have had access. It’s hoped that this won’t be the case with sponsored stories, but only time will tell whether there will be problems.
The sponsored stories idea seems to be a good one for advertisers, even if it’s not such a great choice for people who use Facebook to interact. With social media taking off and having such a strong presence, it’s pretty clear that advertisers are losing money. Why pay to place an ad on the Internet when you can set up a blog and a Facebook page, along with a MySpace page and a Twitter account, for free? With this new idea, advertisers are taking full advantage of the space they buy on social networking sites, and they’re using people’s posts to further their causes.